Oman negotiates release of foreign prisoners from Yemen: Report
One of the prisoners is a British national accused of spying on behalf of the British government
By News Desk - April 25 2022

(Photo credit: AFP)

The Omani foreign ministry announced on 24 April that it has successfully negotiated the release of 14 prisoners held in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, and their transfer to the Omani capital of Muscat.

Among the freed prisoners include a British national and his wife and child, a Filipino, an Ethiopian, a Myanmar national, and seven Indians.

The British government announced that Luke Symons is the person who was held in the Yemeni prison.

According to Amnesty International, Symons went to Yemen in 2012. He met a local woman and married her.

After the popular government led by Ansarallah took power in 2014, Symons was accused of spying for the British government. The British government alleges that Symons was not charged with a crime prior to being jailed.

The British national has been in jail since 2017 when he was 25 years old. The British government has also alleged that he suffered mistreatment while in jail.

After negotiations between Muscat and Riyadh, permission was granted to an Omani Royal Air Force aircraft to land in Sanaa on 24 April and pick up the prisoners. They are currently residing in Muscat until they can be repatriated to their home countries.

Oman is able to negotiate between Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition due to it not being a part of the coalition.

Earlier this year, the Omani foreign minister condemned attempts by the coalition to push the US into re-designating Ansarallah as a terrorist organization on the US blacklist.

The foreign minister stated that Abu Dhabi and Washington should be focusing on finding the means to engage the Sanaa administration and to bring them to the negotiating table, as they are a key component of the political landscape in Yemen.

Since the beginning of Ramadan, a UN-brokered truce was put in place between Riyadh and Sanaa. However, Saudi Arabia has not upheld its end of the deal and has repeatedly violated its terms, including the seizure of approved fuel ships and preventing the re-opening of Sanaa International Airport.

The siege on Yemen has restricted the entry of humanitarian aid and essential goods, such as fuel and food, into the country, and has caused what the UN calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.”

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